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Old 02-10-2011, 09:29 AM   #1
Arturo Garcia
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How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

Fellas, please don't kill me. It's not a troll post and I know how it sounds, but really, I need suggestions on a good program to fit my goals that doesn't involve squatting.

I know the very first question you're gonna ask, is why no squats. If you really want to argue why I don't want to squat, you may click this link to a post I started on May last year... and the read the next couple of parragraphs. If you can accept the fact that I want to fulfill some goals and not squat, you can skip this and read after the part of this post in BOLD. http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=58332
I tried SS back then, only got 5 weeks in, had to quit due to pain under that hip bone. It was not the first time I got it.

Recently I was doing Justin's 70s big program and I got this pain again, this time on the right side. After watching Kelly Starrett's videos where he talks about a tight psoas, and the "man belly" or hyperarching the lower back while squatting, I think that is my problem. I originally found it hard to believe as I have stretched those hip flexors a lot, but I think the psoas is tight, I found some psoas stretches and they hurt. I think I had been stretching the hip flexors wrong and not hitting them. I am currently working on stretching those psoas (first I gotta let the right one heal as it hurts a bit) now that I know it's a big issue.

But for the time being, I wanna reach some goals that I've had for a while, without squatting. I know you're thinking "just wait until you can squat and go for it then, the right way", but I've been thinking like this for over 2 years now. It would have helped to know how to get myself fixed from the beggining but I don't know of any professionals around my area. Believe me I considered just flying overseas just to see one.

Wanna get big and strong without squats.

I wanna get big and strong without squats, that's it. If you want me to be more specific... I'm 190 with love-handles (hehe) and would like to be at least 220, preferably without (much) more fat than I have now. I can always lean out later. I don't care for visible ABS, I'll never have them probably. My best DL is 305x5 and I want to rep 405. I have never even pressed 135 yet although I suspect I'm close (I made good progress on Justin's program, setting a PR of about 120x4 or so), but I wanna press much more and have good shoulder strength (sorry no specific number or goal for this). I wanna improve and pull-ups and dips as I love those two movements (again no specific number.. I can do reps with maybe 35# on dips and about 14 deadhang pull-ups). Oh and since I was just learning the Power Clean I'd like to continue improving in that with the help I was getting from the Digital Coaching section of this board! I have no conditioning goals as I don't play sports competetively, only tennis ocationally and I never get tired before my opponents.

That's about it. Is this doable without squats? All the routines that I know work to get one big.... 20-rep squats, SS, 70's big... they all include the squat. I know, it's a tough situation, BELIEVE ME when I say I really really want to squat, but yesterday it hurt do do a thruster with my 30-ish pound son. I can DL at max effort with no pain though, and do all other upper body lifts. Can one still get stronger and bigger doing DL's, PC's, maybe hip extensions (I have a GHD), mabe even barbell hip thrusts?? I don't mind developing the posterior chain while the quads "stall" for a few months or however long it takes me to be able to do squats or similar exercises.

I was reading in Power to the People about men getting strong before the squat-craze era and it gave me hopes. Is it doable? I even considered a "bear" program outlined in the book that has some insane volume of just deadlifts and presses for a few weeks. I have given serious thought to doing that routine for some time while I heal.

Other options are doing established routines but changing the squat with something else. I tried following Justin's routine using the bulgarian split squat (back foot elevated and front foot on a little platform for bigger ROM), but when it got really heavy I did the "man belly" thing, overarch the low back, and again hurt my hip flexor area right under the bone, so I'm even going toavoid these unilateral exercises for the time being. The hip thrust seems interesting and apparently one can move big loads with it and targets mostly the glutes. WFS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVlQhlKf-5Q
I think I might be able to do that one pain free. If I do a program similar to SS but using that, will I end up with a huge butt? LOL, I wouldn't care as long as I got bigger and stronger.

I'm so desperate that lately I just wanna go back to a gym and do pec decs and curls. Sorry for the long post. All suggestions appreciated.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:47 AM   #2
Michael Henry
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

Just do a BB style program. There are millions of globo-gym goers who are 'big and strong' and don't squat. They probably do lunges or leg extensions/curls, possibly even half squats. Or, just the program you were planning on doing and don't squat. Obviously it will have its shortcomings since you aren't squatting and possibly limit your other lifts, but you'll still get stronger lifting heavy on other movements. After a few months tell us how it goes. Maybe WE are all wrong...
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:18 AM   #3
Kevin J. Fleming
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

Sounds like you need to see a good Physical Therapist.

Almost all legitimate "BB style routine[s]" include some squat variation.

However, you can get strong without squats by doing other heavy compound movements.

Try trap bar deadlifts in addition to regular deadlifts; it has elements of both a squat and a deadlift.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
Jared Ashley
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

deadlifts. power cleans. strongman stuff like sled pulls and sandbag lifting/carrying. Sprints. Basically everything you'd do anyway except squats.

see if you can find a good PT to work with you on your issues and hopefully eventually squat. in the meantime, it might even make sense to occasionally do some alternative leg work like *gasp* leg press.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
Todd R Miller
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

I read in one of Louis Simmons articles that he considers heavy sled pulls a great way to build mass and strength. Louis used them while recovering from a serious back injury.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
Arturo Garcia
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

I tried to be as clear as possible so noone would be sarcastic with comments like "Maybe we're all wrong". I fully acknowledge squats are awesome but everytime I go heavy I end up injured and quit on everything else out of disappointment or thinking that doing a program NOT as RX'd is not gonna work. (Just listen to what the "SS" people tell you if you even consider changing one move for another). So I wouldn't want to do a program that I don't know would work. Although I wonder if just doing the other heavy compound lifts I can do and eat a lot could do the trick? If so I'd like some sort of schedule and rep/set scheme or whatever that has worked for others.

Seeing a good physical therapist, as funny as it sounds, is expensive for me as I'd have to fly overseas, stay in a hotel, and pay the PT. I don't live in the US and I haven't found anyone good in here. I tried a chiro and lost about a thousand dollars (which is a lot for me, again, I live in a thirld world country and don't earn money in us dollars) and saw no improvements at all. Also tried a PT with no luck. I got this one from the place where the country's athletes train, but he wasn't able to help. I don't think there are rolfers, CHECK, NUCCA or whatever other type of practitioners seem to be around every corner in the USA. I would have been to all of them had I lived there.

Anyways back on topic... any good programs to get big and strong that doesn't include squat?

Oh, and I train at home so no leg-press for me Just the barbell movements.

And Jared: I should have mentioned that I have been wanting to sprint for about 3 years, but can't. I think it's related to my issues and I think I'm closer to finding the problem. A max effort sprint always seems to tear my right upper hamstring, nomatter what. Just one 40m sprint would do it if I reach my full speed. I know from experience. I can try and sprint quickly in short distances (have done so playing tennis) and it wont happen, but if I sprint across the whole court I kindof tear it and takes a couple of weeks to fully heal. It's not a tight hamstring either. But I recently found out that a tight psoas tilts the pelvis forward and gives the illusion of having a tight hamstring just because it's being pulled from the pelvis. It adds up to what has been happening to me. Believe me I love sprints and hill sprints and would do them very often if they didn't kill my right hamstring for days/weeks after every session. I have done a lot of pistols in the past and they didn't injure me. So maybe I can try and maintain some quad strength with them.... lol.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:58 PM   #7
Arturo Garcia
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

I just googled the Sled and seems interesting. I don't think I'd take such long strides since one wouldn't reach max speeds, so maybe although a max effort sprint injures me maybe sprinting with this thing attached wont. I'll consider this.

Farmer's Walk seem very interesting as well I've always wanted to do those. In fact I once tried but with dumbells it's very uncomfortable. Would love to have decent implements, maybe they're cheap to make.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
Arturo Garcia
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

By the way guys, I'm not saying because I wont squat for a while I want to do curls and pec deck. I haven't done isolation exercises in a long time in fact. Just looking to read about a routine that produces results without squats, so I can read other people's testimonials on such routines, etc. I'm not looking to become a bodybuilder or anything. I just don't know what routine to follow since I'm rather limited without the squats. Wow, triple reply.. ok no more from now.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:09 PM   #9
Michael Henry
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arturo Garcia View Post
I tried to be as clear as possible so noone would be sarcastic with comments like "Maybe we're all wrong".
Look, you know you can't squat but you want to get big and strong. You know that not squatting is going to limit your strength program. You know that people on here know that. Do your program without squatting. Do what lower body exercises you can that don't give you pain. See how big and strong you get. You may meet your goals, but no one will know until you do it. That's the point, experiment and bring us your data. That's the purpose of my comment.

This $hit is out of control on these boards. People say I want to do this but I can't do ____ exercise. Everyone says the program will not work. Maybe it will work for you, give it a try and see what happens. If it works, guess what, we were all wrong.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:27 PM   #10
Shane Skowron
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Re: How to get big and strong WITHOUT squats?

Try clean pulls
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